In Babylon: A Novel

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9780688176457: In Babylon: A Novel

Translated from the Dutch by Stacey Knecht

Published in Europe to tremendous critical acclaim, this richly imagined international bestseller weaves a gloriously inventive and very human story about man's constant drive from the Old World to the New--and his desire, despite everything, for home and homeland

The worst winter blizzard the East Netherlands has seen in many years has left Nathan Hollander and his niece, Nina, snowbound in the deserted house of his late Uncle Herman. But they are not alone: Apart from Chaim and Magnus, two seventeenth-century family ghosts, there is another presence, unknown and unfriendly. As they wait for the storm to subside, Nathan and Nina piece together the story of their forefathers, a family of itinerant Jewish clockmakers who came to the Netherlands from Eastern Europe, and then fled to America in 1939. An extraordinary family history emerges, as well as many unsolved mysteries: For instance, what happened to the brilliant Zeno, who became a leader of a messianic sect and then vanished without a trace; why did Uncle Herman, a respected academic, end up dying in such undignified circumstances--underneath an eighteen-year-old call girl?

The worst winter blizzard the East Netherlands has seen in many years has left Nathan Hollander and his niece, Nina, snowbound in the deserted house of his late Uncle Herman. But they are not alone: Apart from Chaim and Magnus, two seventeenth-century family ghosts, there is another presence, unknown and unfriendly. As they wait for the storm to subside, Nathan and Nina piece together the story of their forefathers, a family of itinerant Jewish clockmakers who came to the Netherlands from Eastern Europe, and then fled to America in 1939. An extraordinary family history emerges, as well as many unsolved mysteries: For instance, what happened to the brilliant Zeno, who became a leader of a messianic sect and then vanished without a trace; why did Uncle Herman, a respected academic, end up dying in such undignified circumstances--underneath an eighteen-year-old call girl?The worst winter blizzard the East Netherlands has seen in many years has left Nathan Hollander and his niece, Nina, snowbound in the deserted house of his late Uncle Herman. But they are not alone: Apart from Chaim and Magnus, two seventeenth-century family ghosts, there is another presence, unknown and unfriendly. As they wait for the storm to subside, Nathan and Nina piece together the story of their forefathers, a family of itinerant Jewish clockmakers who came to the Netherlands from Eastern Europe, and then fled to America in 1939. An extraordinary family history emerges, as well as many unsolved mysteries: For instance, what happened to the brilliant Zeno, who became a leader of a messianic sect and then vanished without a trace; why did Uncle Herman, a respected academic, end up dying in such undignified circumstances--underneath an eighteen-year-old call girl?

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From the Back Cover:

The worst blizzard the East Netherlands has seen in many years has left Nathan Hollander and his niece, Nina, snowbound in the deserted house of their late Uncle Herman. Waiting for the storm to subside, they piece together the story of their forefathers, a family of itinerant clockmakers who came from Eastern Europe to the Netherlands in the seventeenth century and fled to America in 1939.

In this funny, quirky, epic novel, Marcel Möring weaves a gloriously inventive and very human story about man's constant drive towards progression and expansion, his coming and going, from the Old World to the New – and his desire, despite everything, for home and homeland.

'Certain books make the reader recall what extraordinary contraptions these objects are. Paper, stitching, some glue, a bit of cardboard, ink: lo and behold, a Tardis. Not much to look at from the outside, but inside, infinite, forever unfolding, a tower to the clouds and a tunnel deep into the earth, an arrow into the heart. In 'Babylon' is such book. It is impossible to put this fat, rich novel into any kind of category. It moves confidently between family history, fairy story, love story, ghost story. Like the Jewish family whose stories it unfolds, it is wide-ranging, adaptable, learned and clever.'
ERICA WAGNER, 'The Times'

'Marcel Möring is beyond doubt one of the most imaginative and perceptive novelists writing today'
PAUL BINDING, 'TLS'


'A fat, rich novel...stuffed with story, bulging with plot. Read it once, then read it again.'
THE TIMES

''In Babylon', a book rich in death, ghosts and jokes, a dynasty of wandering clockmakers make their way, forever impelled westwards as refugees. It is Marcel Möring's achievement that he has rendered this profusion of trails from the Old to the New Worlds so diverse, so divergent and so divinely – or diabolically – funny.'
AMANDA HOPKINSON, 'Independent on Sunday'

About the Author:

Marcel Möring is the bestselling author of Mendel, The Great Longing, In Babylon, and The Dream Room. Widely considered the Netherlands' leading contemporary writer, he lives in Rotterdam with his wife and children.

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